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Kyphosis – What it is and How to Prevent it

Posted by / September 28, 2018 / Categories: Inside Recliners, Occupational Therapy

As an OT it is essential that we learn to spot the causes of kyphosis early in order to help prevent its more severe effects in our patients. This article introduces three steps you can take to minimise the risk of kyphosis in your patients.

Kyphosis is defined as abnormal forward curvature of the spine. It is caused primarily by poor posture such as leaning forwards in front of a computer, and is a particular problem for patients who spend a large amount of time seated. The effects can range from mild pain to long-term muscle deformations, breathing problems and pressure ulcers.

As an OT it is essential that we learn to spot the causes of kyphosis early in order to help prevent its more severe effects in our patients. Here are three steps you can take to minimise the risk of kyphosis in your patients.

Get the Right Chair

Kyphosis occurs when a patients’ chair does not provide enough support for their lower, lumbar spine. In this case, the patient will lean back in their chair and slide their buttocks forwards. This position results in increased curvature and pressure on the lumbar spine. To counter this, a chair that provides adequate lumbar support and comes with additional support options to stabilise the lower back is required

Ensure Good Posture

Good seated posture is when a patient’s natural inward spinal curve is being supported, with ‘natural’ being how their spine would be if they were standing up straight and comfortable. Standing this way a patient relieves unnecessary stress on joints and discs. If your patient can stand, observe their natural position then aim to replicate this when they sit down, using cushions to help support and maintain their posture.
At Recliners our solution to this is our pressure care foam cushions. The upper layer of these is made from a material called Vasco – a Visco-Elastic cellular polymer – which moulds to the client’s form. Many of our chairs also come with a range of back options as standard, making it easy for you as an O.T to adapt the chair to your client’s unique needs.

Be Aware That Everyone is Different

Each patient you see will have their own unique natural curvature of the spine, so it is important that we are not trying to achieve the same position for everyone. Take time to observe and talk to your patient to find the posture that is correct for them.

For any help and advice on seating patients with lumbar difficulties, and correct positioning of support cushions, feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help.

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